i spent black friday cleaning house and throwing things away. i woke up one day a few weeks ago and looked around me and wondered why i had so much stuff. it was probably my uncle horace's death that got me going in that direction. that and my space bags. i certainly can't take it with me. so i started to toss things out and shred paperwork with a vengeance. believe it or not, i'm making headway.
i'm sure that what i'm doing is completely emotional, on some level.
ralph called right as i was going to do my laundry. we went to barrio chino and ended up sitting next to patrick, one of the owners of the place, who proceeded to give us an informative mini tutorial on tequila and mescal, and a tasting of several kinds. i had the shrimp tacos, which blew my mind. i ended up floating home like a balloon and collapsing onto my freshly made bed. somewhere in there, the phone rang. it was paula pow, set adrift from out of my past, somewhere in the bronx, visiting family for the thanksgiving holidays. i knew her from waaaay back, when i would hang out with all of these freaks down in the lower east side when it was still cool, at a place called king tut's wah-wah hut. she was a wild girl, i suppose. alcohol, drugs, you name it. i thought she was adorable. and now she's a married social worker with three kids, a born-again christian that's living in a house with an actual honest-to-goodness white picket fence. all she needs is a minivan and she'd be a total soccer mom. (two of the kids are his from a previous marriage. the youngest one is four and she wants to try for another one next year.) she even went back to school and finished her master's degree. freaky.
interestingly enough, she remembered that i didn't drink or smoke anything or do any drugs even then. she said that she would often wonder why i was hanging out with all of them. to tell the truth, i was having fun. i satisfied my curiousity about drugs when i was in college. i never needed to get high to amuse myself. there was plenty of opportunity for that, clean and sober.
for a minute there, it was all about who we haven't seen and who overdosed and who's doing what. matt's a lawyer. kenny's bartending and playing bass in punk bands. e. married a stripper and moved to australia to escape a warrant for his arrest. evidently, he beat up a gay guy pretty badly. (sounds like par for the course.) and of course i still love edward, who's remarried and still on the west coast. somehow, the past is always running to catch up with you, no matter where your life is now. paula went to a seminar about drug addiction and saw her ex-boyfriend eddie and his friend nunzio in the "just say no to drugs" video presentation. he'd lost almost all of his teeth. as soon as his face filled the frame, paula jumps up and yells, i used to go out with that guy!
she sent out an email a week or so ago, for anyone and everyone that remembers her to come to a tapas bar in the lower east side tomorrow. i was going to show up without calling, just to surprise her. but it feels like it's going to be a surprise, anyway. i'm really proud of her for getting her life together and finishing school and growing a family. she's proud of me for sticking it out and achieving success with my art in nyc. i don't think i've done all that much. she says marriage and kids are totally overrated. i suppose everyone looks at what's on the other side of the fence and sees greener grass. right now, i'm grateful that i've got any grass to stand on at all. or that i'm standing. or that i'm even here, amongst the living. i'd love to want more. but right now, that's more than enough.